Is California Fiscally Responsible

Is California Fiscally Responsible Image
Although California tends to be a punching bag for fiscal irresponsibility, such rhetoric isn't always honest. California, just like every other state in the nation, has its fair share of waste. This is certain. But thanks to a plan designed to reduce petroleum consumption in fleet vehicles, the Golden State has successfully slashed its petroleum use by 13 percent compared to a 2003 baseline. Under Assembly Bill 236, California will reduce or displace petroleum consumption by 10 percent by 2012 and 20 percent by 2020. Today we can see that the state is certainly on its way to reaching that goal.

Some of the actions that have enabled California to come this far include the following...

* In 2009, California eliminated 3,397 of the state's oldest and most fuel inefficient passenger vehicles.

* Also in 2009, the state reduced vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by eliminating non-mission critical VMT. This was done by eliminating 2,121 vehicle home storage permits.

* In 2010, California restructured the lease rate of its rental fleet by separately billing state agencies for their fuel. As a result, these agencies began actively managing their fuel usage internally.

* In 2011, the state, along with Coulomb Technologies, installed 24 Level 2 fast-charge charging stations at five separate Department of General Services parking facilities.

* In 2012, Governor Brown issued an executive order for California's state vehicle fleet to increase the number of its zero-emission vehicles through the normal course of fleet replacement so that at least 10 percent of fleet purchases of light-duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2015, and 25 percent by 2020.

* Also in 2012, California directed state agencies to order solar reflective colors when they acquire new light-duty vehicles. This enables a vehicle's air condition system to work less, thereby reducing fuel consumption.

Quite frankly, this really should be used as a model for other states. There's no doubt that a significant reduction in petroleum use serves to provide a budgetary buffer - particularly in these tough economic times that are only going to get tougher as inflation takes hold.

This also gives states the opportunity to get aggressive on petroleum reduction without relying on the heavy hand of the federal government.

That being said, this type of thing should also be done responsibly. California has unfortunately relied on the utilization of biodiesel and ethanol to help it reach its goals. Long-term, this is "not" economically or environmentally sustainable. Certainly it would be nice to see more natural gas and electricity serving as fleet fuels in the future.

Credit: [Jeff Siegel]
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